In­dia, Bhutan Can Con­trib­ute to Out­comes in SAARC: Mukher­jee

Bhutan Times - - Editorial -

San­jeev Chopra: Out­look De­scrib­ing In­dia’s ties with Bhutan as “ex­em­plary” that take care of each other’s con­cerns and vi­tal in­ter­ests, Pres­i­dent Pranab Mukher­jee to­day said the two coun­tries can jointly con­trib­ute to con­struc­tive talks and far reach­ing out­comes at the up­com­ing SAARC Sum­mit.

Ad­dress­ing a con­ven­tion, where he also launched a num­ber of In­dia- spon­sored pro­grammes in Bhutan, Mukher­jee called upon both na­tions to earnestly take up their role within SAARC for ad­vance­ment of the re­gion and for global peace, se­cu­rity and de­vel­op­ment.

“I would like to sug­gest that In­dia and Bhutan must take up, with all earnest­ness their role within SAARC to move our re­gional co­op­er­a­tion to­wards pos­i­tive and pro­duc­tive pro­grammes for the ad­vance­ment of the re­gion and global peace, se­cu­rity and de­vel­op­ment,” Mukher­jee said on the last day of his two- day Bhutan visit, the first by an In­dian head of state to the coun­try in last 26 years

The forth­com­ing SAARC Sum­mit in Kathmandu will be a cru­cial meet­ing in which Bhutan and In­dia can work to­gether to con­trib­ute to con­struc­tive de­lib­er­a­tions and far reach­ing out­comes,” he said ad­dress­ing an elite gath­er­ing at the Con­ven­tion Cen­tre here.

Bhutanese Prime Min­is­ter Tsh­er­ing Tob­gay, along with his Cab­i­net col­leagues, was present dur­ing the func­tion where Pres­i­dent Mukher­jee un­veiled a School Re­forms project, a 546- km dou­ble- lan­ing road project and a Cen­tral school de­vel­oped through In­dia’s as­sis­tance.

Three agree­ments be­tween IIM Ahmed­abad and the Royal Civil Ser­vice Com­mis­sion of Bhutan and one be­tween the Royal Univer­sity of Bhutan and In­dia’s Na­tional In­no­va­tion Foun­da­tion were signed in the pres­ence of Pres­i­dent Mukher­jee and the Bhutanese Prime Min­is­ter

An agree­ment was also signed be­tween the English and For­eign Lan­guages Univer­sity of Hy­der­abad and the Royal Univer­sity of Bhutan

De­liv­er­ing an ad­dress on the ‘ In­dia- Bhutan re­la­tions’, the Pres­i­dent said, “I would to­day sum it up as an ex­em­plary bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship be­tween two neigh­bour­ing coun­tries, a unique and suc­cess­ful part­ner­ship for mu­tual ben­e­fit, and a sym­bi­otic friend­ship be­tween two peo­ples bound by age- old his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural link­ages.”

“Our close bi­lat­eral re­la­tions are based on our many shared per­cep­tions and pri­or­i­ties. There is a deep con­fi­dence and trust be­tween our Gov­ern­ments and peo­ple and we have en­sured that we re­main sen­si­tive, as closely co­op­er­at­ing neigh­bours, to each other’s con­cerns and vi­tal in­ter­ests,” he said.

“There are many more miles we have to go. We have to go a long dis­tance. Lets move for­ward, let us move in har­mony, let us move in peace in un­der­stand­ing each other,” Mukher­jee said in his ad­dress.

Later, in a joint state­ment it was stated that both sides ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion over the ex­cel­lent state of bi­lat­eral re­la­tions and reaf­firmed their com­mit­ment to fur­ther strengthen the spe­cial friend­ship be­tween the two coun­tries.

“The two sides reaf­firmed the trust and con­fi­dence be­tween the two coun­tries and their mu­tual se­cu­rity in­ter­ests. They agreed to con­tinue their close co­or­di­na­tion and co­op­er­a­tion with each other on is­sues re­lat­ing to their na­tional in­ter­est, and not al­low each other’s ter­ri­tory to be used for in­ter­ests in­im­i­cal to the other,” the state­ment said.

The In­dian gov­ern­ment re­it­er­ated its com­mit­ment to Bhutan’s so­cio- eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and con­tin­ued support for the suc­cess­ful im­ple­men­ta­tion of the 11th Five Year Plan of of Bhutan from 2013 to 2018.

Talk­ing about the strong ties be­tween In­dia and Bhutan, Pres­i­dent Mukher­jee said, “as in­her­i­tors of this legacy, we are duty-bound to nur­ture ev­ery as­pect of it and en­sure that we build on it and re­alise its full po­ten­tial.”

He said the last few months have been marked by a con­sol­i­da­tion and in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion of close bi­lat­eral ties.

“Our ex­changes at the po­lit­i­cal as well as of­fi­cial level and our frank di­a­logue on all is­sues have fa­cil­i­tated our mu­tual un­der­stand­ing and close col­lab­o­ra­tion in the in­clu­sive de­vel­op­ment and so­cioe­co­nomic progress of our peo­ple,” Mukher­jee said.

“We have a common ob­jec­tive of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment, ed­u­ca­tion for all and the de­vel­op­ment of in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions to ad­dress the spe­cific needs of our pop­u­la­tion from the grass­roots level,” he said.

Talk­ing about his long as­so­ci­a­tion with Bhutan, Mukher­jee said “there is so much more to learn -from the way of life and phi­los­o­phy of the peo­ple of Bhutan.”

Stress­ing on the im­por­tance of ed­u­ca­tion, Pres­i­dent Mukher­jee said In­dia will con­tinue to support Bhutan and of­fer seats in our premier ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tutes.

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